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J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Jul;25(7):1889-97. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e7faa8.

The influence of chronological age on periods of accelerated adaptation of stretch-shortening cycle performance in pre and postpubescent boys.

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Faculty of Sport, Health, and Social Care, University of Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom.


Although it is suggested that periods of naturally occurring accelerated adaptation may exist for various physical parameters, it would appear that no such evidence exists for stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) development. Two hundred and fifty male youths aged 7-17 years were tested for squat (SJ) and countermovement jump (CMJ) height, reactive strength index (RSI), and leg stiffness, with analyses of variance used to establish any significant between-group differences. Additionally, to ascertain the existence of periods of accelerated adaptation, inferences were made about the magnitudes of change between consecutive chronological age groups in relation to the smallest worthwhile change. The largest mean differences (±90% confidence limits) occurred between age groups 10 and 11 (G10-G11) for squat jump (SJ) height (21.61 ± 12.08-31.94%), CMJ height (20.80 ± 11.1-44.1%), and RSI (26.51 ± 11.07-44.10%); and between G12 and G13 for SJ (15.31 ± 7.47-23.73%) and CMJ (16.09 ± 7.50-25.38%) height. Negative mean differences occurred between G11 and G12 for SJ height (-1.32 ± -9.30 to 7.37%), CMJ jump height (-7.68 ± -15.15 to 0.45%) and RSI (-11.48 ± -22.21 to 0.74%); and between G10 and G11 for leg stiffness (-8.87 ± -18.85 to 2.34%). It would appear almost certain that windows of accelerated adaptation may exist for SJ and CMJ height and RSI in male youths; however, leg stiffness results would suggest that fast-SSC function may follow a different developmental trend.

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